Residents to receive regular communication and updates on COVID-19

CHANGES: Chair of the Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service Grant King and CEO Ngaire Buchanan.
CHANGES: Chair of the Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service Grant King and CEO Ngaire Buchanan.

The Limestone Coast Local Health Network board is looking to provide regular communication and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board released a statement this afternoon which follows the press conference and update on Tuesday.

Board chair Grant King said at the time of the report, the Limestone Coast region still has four confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Testing for people who have presented and meet the criteria of being at risk of infection will continue across the region.

Mr King stated the most recent three cases are not linked to the first case announced earlier this week.

"None of the new cases are linked and all but one is related to travel. None of the new cases are hospitalised and are currently in self isolation and being monitored," Mr King said.

"The Communicable Disease Authorities routinely follow up and advise all known contacts of any confirmed cases so that people can undertake the appropriate checking.

"Advice and precautionary measures, which may include self-isolation for the required period of 14 days."

Mr King also stated that specific that specific details as to the identity or location of any known cases, will not be made available to the public.

He said the decision was made to retain the privacy of those people and to avoid raising unnecessary anxiety in specific areas.

Having said that, as stated earlier, if there are potential risks to people associated with known cases, you will be notified.

During this tough time, the board assured the Limestone Coast community that they will maintain regular updates and information specific to the regional situation.

"Those updates will include reference to current measures being put in place regionally and those recommended by Government and Health leaders, to continue to fight the spread of this disease," Mr King said.

Mr King said he is not in a place to speculate on the current numbers rising, but he reiterated the strong messages around social distancing and hand hygiene.

He also called for residents listen to the measures introduced by governments to restrict a range of businesses, activities and events, all aimed at bringing the numbers under control.

"We are not sure of the number of people in the region who are currently in self-isolation, that matter again is with the Communicable Disease Authorities," Mr King said.

"What I can say is that we hope that all people required to self-isolate, are being responsible and doing it to the fullest extent."

Some changes are being made at the Mount Gambier hospital and aged care sites, with Category 2 and 3 surgeries (visiting and elective) ceasing for the immediate future.

"We need to ensure that adequate capacity is retained to meet any unexpected or increased demands on the healthcare system," Mr King said.

In addition, other measures announced include restrictions on hospital and aged care visits.

"For hospitals, visiting can take place between 1-2 pm and 6-8 pm daily, with only two visitors at any time and for 15 minutes only," Mr King said.

"Visits can only take place in the patient room and permission will need to be obtained for those under 16 years of age to visit.

"For aged care sites, visiting can take place between 1-2pm and 6-8pm daily, with only one visitor per day and for 15 minutes only. Permission will be needed for under 16 years of age visitors."

Other face-to-face and non-essential visits, activities and non-clinical activities have been ceased.

Mr King advised that the Penola War Memorial Hospital Emergency Department will close effective Monday, March 30.

"This action is being taken to remove the risk of acute patients presenting in proximity to the aged care facility located at the hospital," Mr King said.

"Your next communication from the LCLHN will come at short notice and in the meantime, if you have any queries in relation to medical services, please contact your GP or nearest hospital site."